5 Rules that Minimalism Books Tell Me is a Good Idea that I Ignore

living room set - mid century green fireplace

If you’ve been here a while, you know I’ve read a lot of minimalism books. Although there are some differences from book to book, let’s be honest, the same tips come up a lot.

I’m not a minimalist, so that’s one of the reasons why I don’t follow these tips/rules. The another big reason is that I’m lazy and don’t feel like taking any amount of time to do anything that may improve my life in the long run.

1. Making my Bed

This tip doesn’t show up in every book. But the idea of making your bed first thing in the morning is very common. From an aesthetic standpoint, a room with a made bed looks way nicer than not.

I’m sure there are some sort of psychological benefits linked to making your bed every day. But I’ve never been the type of person to make my bed (much to my mom’s chagrin), and my fiancé doesn’t seem to care. We also have different blanket requirements so not making the bed means our blankets stay in the right spots everyday.

I’ve been caught a couple times, where a service person from my landlord has had to go into our room to check something and that’s mildly embarrassing. But let me tell you a little secret as someone that’s been in hundreds of peoples homes as part of my job. Short of a biohazard, like dog poop on the ground, I legitimately don’t care what your house looks like and will forget it by the time I leave. So keep that in mind the next time you do or don’t make your bed.

black and beige book on white bed sheet
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2. Unsubscribing from Mailing Lists

I see why this tip is a good idea. You can’t shop the sales that you don’t know about.

I have a bit of a habit of joining mailing lists because I want that welcome discount but I don’t always unsub afterwards. For the most part, I will unsubscribe when the next e-mail comes in, but it’s not perfect and there are a few brands because I want I know when their next sale is. Or because they offer cute phone backgrounds every month (I’m looking at you Simplified). One way I’ve tried to reduce this is by just googling if there are any promo codes. I’ve also had some luck with Honey, but it rarely works with smaller brands.

Then number of mailing lists I’m on pales in comparison to the number of brands I follow on Instagram. I follow so many small businesses. I think if you are going to buy something, supporting a small business is the way to go. But also I get tempted a lot. An e-mail I can delete without looking, a post or a story is a lot harder to ignore. It’s also not even brands that I follow, the Instagram algorithm has me pretty well figured out and the ads work. I’ve made a fair number of purchases based on seeing the Instagram ad enough times.

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3. Making Lists/Waiting to Make Purchases

This one builds off my previous point. I have fairly bad impulse control when it comes to online purchases. That’s part of the reason I started the Inbound vs Outbound series so I can keep an eye on what I’m buying and look for trends or whatever.

So many of the books I’ve read recommend makings lists or just waiting to buy something. Like in The Year of Less, Cait Flanders made a list of things that were acceptable to purchase at the start of the year and stuck with it. I literally could never.

I think the only list I respect is for my groceries and I go rogue in that department as well. This happens less when I’m shopping with someone. Ironically, I’m pretty good at talking my friends out of purchases when I’m out shopping with them (if they ask me to). For the most part, I can go to the mall and leave empty handed. A craft show or a small business that is having a sale, that’s a whole different story.

Most of my online shopping habits could be solved if I changed my PayPal password. But I don’t, and that is one of the many reasons I’m not a minimalist.

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4. The One In/ One Out Rule

Again, if you read my Inbound vs Outbound series you will know that I don’t follow the One In/One Out rule. I also generally don’t think it’s that good of a rule.

There are times in your life when you need to bring in things into your life, and I don’t think you need to force yourself to part with something at as result. An example is buying a bike and bike accessories. Unless you already have an old bike and this is an upgrade, I don’t really see how the rule can apply. Why get rid of stuff you use, just because you got something new.

I think ownership of stuff goes in seasons, or waves or something else equally cheesy. There are time when you will bring in more, and times when you are getting rid of more. Like at the end of a season or prepping for a move.

I can see how the one in/one out might be helpful for someone trying to get a hold of their shopping habits, but I also think there are better rules out there. (like list or waiting periods, ironic I know)

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5. The Two Minute Rule

This is one rule I probably should do. I’ve tried it in the past and it’s pretty helpfully. The idea is if a task (ex: putting something away) can be done in two minutes or less. It should be done immediately.

The idea is pretty solid. And that’s why I’m bad at it. I’m a die hard procrastinator, so my brain has a hard time wanting to do The Thing, even it is pretty easy and will ultimately help me. Like my To-Do lists are filled with tasks that would take 2-15 mins to do, and I let them fester for months!!!

One example is the cabin filter of my car. I took my car into service, I think, September of 2021. They mentioned my cabin filter needs to be replaced for like $50-$60.

I did what any reasonable person would do. And called my dad asking for his advice, since he knows more about cars than me. He said that cabin filters are easy to replace and that he’s pretty confident I can do that one myself.

So I declined the service, ordered a filter online. And…..

Did nothing for 3 months. It became a joke amongst my friends. They would see the filter on the table and joke about how I still didn’t do it. (Why was it sitting on the table? idk)

It wasn’t until January 2022, when my partner and a friend of ours were doing a new years resolution goal setting, where I put replacing the filter down. My friend asked were the filter was, and to grab it.

The three of us when down to my car and guess how long it took to replace the fucking filter? 20 mins tops and that includes looking up youtube tutorials and just generally cleaning out my car (thanks for helping guys!).

I waited, and was going to continue wait months to do a task that took less to do time than a Simpson’s episode. Why? Cause I was lazy and didn’t want to go to my parking garage and do it.

All of this to say, I approve of the 2 minute rule even if I don’t live it. The little moments it takes to put something away, rise something, fold something, toss something out etc… All build up and can reduce the likelihood of your friends making fun of you when they visit.

yellow mini cooper parked beside white concrete building
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That’s pretty much it for now. I probably could add more. The odds are, if it’s recommended by the Minimalists I probably don’t do it. I eventually want to write a post about the things that I do do (haha dodo). But I still need some time with that one.

Are there any rules or general life advice that you ignore? I would love to hear about it.

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